Naga Chokkanathan

Archive for November 2010

What is the difference between “Find” and “Find Out”? I used to think they can be used interchangeably, But today I learnt that their meanings are quite different. Thanks to my colleague Mr. Larry Glaeser for this Smile

To “find out” implies that you first  “find” information which then allows you to have an insight about the task at hand:

Merriam-Webster Definition of FIND OUT

transitive verb

1: to learn by study, observation, or search : discover

2a : to catch in an offense (as a crime) <the culprits were soon found out>

2b : to ascertain the true character or identity of <the informer was found out>

intransitive verb: to discover, learn, or verify something <I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you>

Examples of FIND OUT

1. <that was around the time that I found out I was adopted>

2. <found out where she lived by checking the phone book>


Last Saturday, we were in a meeting @ Thoughtworks University and found this interesting tool they use in their training sessions, called “Learning Matrix”.

Basically they have a huge chart split into 4 areas. These quadrants have a picture of a Smiley Face, Sad Face, Light Bulb and a flower. As the chart was empty, I couldn’t understand the meaning of those 4 pictures / how they use it in the classroom.

Later, I did some google search on the title “Learning Matrix” and Thoughtworks – Found this link which gave a clear explanation for these boxes and how they are used:

Those 4 Quadrants mean “Things we did well”, ‘Things we didn’t do well”, “Ideas” and “Appreciations”. Students are asked to write their comments in a post-it notes and stick them in the relevant area. This becomes a great tool for analyzing how the training went – no matter it’s a 1 hour session or 15 days session.

Very interesting. I want to use this in my next training session. (Hei wait, May be this tool is patented to Thoughtworks and I can’t use it? How to find out?)


N. Chokkan …

29 11 2010

1944 – Mumbai Docks 7000 Tonne ship blast

1991 – Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait

1997 – A blast at a major refinery site in South India

2001 – The Gujarat Earthquake disaster

2002 – A MIG 21 crash in a Bank building at Jalandhar

2004 – Fire at Centurian Bank of Lalbaug which lasted for more than 2 days

2005 – Fire at the Oasis centre in Dubai which lasted overnight and burnt down the entire mall

All these disasters had one common link, Guess!

During all these accidents (natural / man–made), Godrej’s safes were installed in those premises. Today their website ( proudly says “our solutions came out unscathed”. Even when the whole building was destroyed in fire / other impact, documents inside Godrej Safes were safe and sound – Hard to argue with such proof!

Recently, almost all organizations started adopting such ‘live-proof’ scenarios to claim better quality / price. You might have seen advertisements which say “Lowest price. If you find this cheaper elsewhere, we will pay you double the difference”. When a consumer reads such confident statements, they believe that the claim must be true. Not sure if anyone goes back and checks if their price is really the cheapest.

Not only product manufacturers / service companies, even politicians are using this strategy – a Corporator in Bangalore has announced that his ward (Nagpura) is 100% pothole-free. He is so confident about the quality of his work that he has announced a cash reward of Rs 1000/- to anyone who spots a pothole in his ward!

Of course, these may be termed as ‘Tall Claims’ or “Self-promotion Gimmicks’. But the truth is there must be something that makes them feel so over-confident about their company / work. It may be an ingredient that we need to mix with our work, in right ratio and that will help us become better individuals / communicators / presenters / assertive personalities.

So, will we pay a cash reward of Rs 10/- to anyone who spots a bug in our software program / document / any other work? If not, Why? What it takes for us to reach that level of confidence?



N. Chokkan …

26 11 2010

There are many ways to read "The American Patriot’s Almanac" By William J Bennett and John T. E. Cribb. You can start at January 1 and read all the way up to December 31 with interesting tidbits in between. But that would be slightly boring. I found this fun way of reading this amazing & well researched book:

Start with your birthday. Turn the almanac pages to that day and check what has happened on that day. Find anything interesting? (For example, I found that Benjamin Franklin was born on that day!) Email it to friends, Tweet about it.

Then try your spouse’s birthday, anniversary day, friends’ birthdays, the day you joined your first job, any other special day you might have. Slowly you can finish this whole book and have a very personal experience about American history.

You can also treat this book as a daily calendar / diary, which gives you a bit of American history with relevance to each day. With wonderful pictures, detailed explanations about important topics such as Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg address, Songs of American Patriotism etc., I hope Thomas Nelson brings many more books in this ‘Almanac’ series about other countries / personalities / topics.

Strongly recommended for anyone who wants to learn about American history in a very interactive and readable manner!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Two tips for “Getting Your Products Right” from Mr. Evan Williams (Brain behind two Biggest Hits in Internet in last decade – “Blog” Concept and “Twitter”). He said he learnt these when he worked in Google for a short duration:

  1. Get the Product right and make users happy before you worry about making money
  2. Focus is everything. Every company has to choose between what it can do and what it should do. The marketplace can be noisy and distracting. Don’t let that push you off course


(Image Courtesy:

You are not going to believe this – 3M has a dedicated information center / staff for making their business meetings more efficient and effective!

Yes. "3M Meeting Network" is their initiative for improved team collaboration and business presentations. Michael Begeman, its creator and manager is now respected as world’s foremost expert on meetings.

(Image Courtesy:

We all spend at least few hours a day in technical / business meetings. Depending on the number of people attending it, a meeting can be a huge investment by the company in terms of money / time. If it is not done in an efficient manner, it’s a productivity loss to everyone concerned. That’s one of the important drivers for 3M to arrive at a set of best practices to follow so that we can make sure value is extracted from every minute spent inside those closed meeting room doors.

Here are few tips from Michael Begeman on a good business meeting. I summarized them from an article / interview in "Fast Company" Magazine –>

  • Meetings are real work! Not empty rituals / time-pass
  • Meetings don’t just happen – you need to think about them, plan them, design them with care
  • Different meetings need different conversations – Conversation for possibility, Conversation for Opportunity, Conversation for Action etc., – Choose your conversation right. Otherwise people will be in different worlds and focus will be lost
  • Understand participant’s expectations first and adjust the meeting rules / experience. If those expectations don’t match, agree at a common point
  • Have ‘open time‘ in your meetings, to encourage people to relate to each other. This will help everyone to focus on the meeting
  • Have toys in your meetings – Example: Squeeze Balls, Colorful Clays etc., – They are great stress relievers and creativity enhancers
  • Allot five minutes at the end of the meeting to do a small debriefing – ask everyone ‘What did we do in this meeting that really worked? What didn’t work? What we want to improve?’ Don’t make it a ritual, make sure the comments shared are used to improve future meetings
  • Don’t worry too much about taking detailed minutes / notes. Focus on 3 categories of information – Decisions Reached, Action Items & Open Issues



N. Chokkan …

19 11 2010

Few days back I attended a cloud computing / virtualization event run by VMWare – A very good session, mix of technical + business oriented talks – My notes below – as usual, this was typed during the session, so kindly ignore spelling / grammar errors :)


N. Chokkan …

18 11 2010


VMWare vSeminar Series 2010 Bangalore 12 November 2010

* Session 1 – Welcome – Jagannath AL, Marketing Director, VMWare India

– Over 2 Billion in 2009 Revenues
– 2.5 Billion in Cash
– 5th largest infra software company in the world
– 190K+ customers
– 100% of fortune 100, Fortune Global 100 use VMWare solutions
– India one of the fastest growing regions
– 6 Offices and 2 R & D Centers in India
– More than 1000 Customers (Sapient, Patni, Reliance General Insurance, Bajaj Auto, Shoppers Stop, Bharat Petroleum, Bajaj Auto) 70+ active channel partners in India
– VMWare cloud computing centre of excellence in Bangalore
– ISV Ecosystem: SAP, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Avaya, Adobe, WebSphere
– VMWare is the only company in the "leaders" Quadrant for x86 server virtualization in Gartner Magic Quardrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure

– VMWare User Group

* Session 2 – Virtualiztation to Cloud – T. Srinivas, Managing Director, India and SAARC, VMWare

– Since 2009, Virtualization has become the de facto model – there are more apps running today on virtual mode than on physical server (Source: IDC)

    MainFrame -> PC / Client Server -> Web -> Cloud

– Cloud computing will transform the delivery and consumption of IT Services

– Pragmatic Path to the cloud

    1. Virtualization Journey -> Evolve your existing infrastructure to a private cloud
    2. Build Special Purpose Clouds -> Build complete clouds in support of new projects

– 3 Stages, 5 Phases:

    1. Core Platform + Maangement
    2. App Development Quality and efficiency
    3. Advanced management and business continuity
    4. Desktop
    5. Automation

– Overall best practices

    – Don’t skip stages – Avoid technical and architectural mistakes
    – Drive key adoption elements – Seek senior management support early, ensure confidence and sponsorship, define and track business value
    – It is all about business – Make it a business proposition, not just technology. 3 main business value areas of virtualization – Cost Efficiency, Quality of Service, Agility

– Stage 1 – Reactive – Cost efficiency, IT involvement, shared resource pools & elastic capacity, virtualize test & dev and IT owned assets to create shared resource pools

– Stage 2 – Selective – Zero touch infrastructure, Increased control + service assurance – Added benefits (in addition to CAPEX, OPEX Savings) in terms of availability and responsiveness, IT & LOB involvement – Expand to business applications, databases and desktops while increasing automation

– Stage 3 – Proactive – Service Definition, Self Service, Chargeback how much of IT you are consuming – Added benefits (In addition to stage 2) Compliance, CIO Involvement, IT as a Service, Enable policy-driven provisioning, management and delivery of services = Agility

– What is Cloud?
    Public Cloud (IaaS – Terremark, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services, PaaS – vmForce, Google App Engine, Windows Azure Platform)
    SaaS (, eorkday, Net Suite)
    Private Cloud

    Goal: IT as a Service

– IT as a Servie = Optimizing IT production for business consumption – Instantly available, Instantly responsive, Always reliable

– Three core focus areas

    3. Re-think End User Computing
    2. Modernize App Development
    1. Evolve the infrastructure

– Cloud Infrastructure Management Products: VMWare vPShere, VMWare cCenterManagement Products, VMWare vShield Security Products, VMWare vCloud Director and vCenter Chargeback, VMWare APIs

– Cloud Application Platform – VMWare vFabric – "spring" Frameworks and Tools (getting your apps as cloud ready), Common Platform Services for App Management, Data Mgmt, Messaging, Dynamic Load Balancing, App Server

– End User Computing – Diverse Access, Diverse Apps, Diverse devices, End User Freedom Vs IT Control

* Session 3 – Virtualization insights: Strategey, deployment and benefits realised – Jitendra Sangharajka, Associate Vice President, Infosys Technologies Ltd

– About Infosys
– IS @ Infosys – IS runs the globally-accessed, 24*7 digital business engine for infosys, hosted on multiple platforms leveraging state-of-the-art technologies
– Range of technological platforms form SAP NetWeaver, Microsoft .NET, J2EE to database, web farms and app servers using Windows and Linux hosted on a SAN Backbone
– 300+ Apps with a geographically spread user base of 120000+ employees
– 700+ Physical / virtual servers
– Virtualized 100% Storage and 50% Servers

– Scenarios before virtualization: Legacy physical servers getting obsolete, Inability to provide HA / Simulated development and test environments, Suboptimal resource utilization and load balancing, inability to provision capacity for ad-hoc spikes, Shrinking datacenter space due to growth, High power & AC Consumption in datacenters, Long provisioning time for server infrastructure, Continuously increasing CAPEX and OPEX needs in times depmanding "doing more with less"

– Our journey:

    1. Storage Virtualization (Hitachi Data Systems
    2. Server Virtualization (VMWare, Microsoft)
    3. App & Presentation Virtualization (Microsoft, Akamai)
    4. Backup Virtualization (IBM)

– 315 Virtual servers hosted on 19 Physical servers (17:1 Cirtualization Ratio)

– Key Benefits: Reduced Physical Infrastructure Costs, Reduced Data Center operating costs (USD 8.4 Million saved over 3 years)

– Deployment Challenges & Mitigations:

    – Adopting the server consolidation at an early stage …. Best in class vendor suppor assisted us to overcome initial hurgles
    – Sizing of virtualized infrastructure and probability of performance degradation …. Use of sizing tools, phased migration
    – High downtime for migration …. Physical to virtual migration tool helped to proceed
    – Lower Performance for some apps over WAN …. Use of presentation layer virtualization for these applications over WAN
    – Database servers with heavy computing and I/O …. RDM has improved the I/O Performance, Para-virtual disk controllers helped
    – Ethernet & EC Congestion at multiple levels …. Adding multiple NICs and HBAs with multi-pathing, Dedicating mulitple storage ports and FE processors, Provisioning consolidated volumes to ESX hosts

– Next Steps: Private Cloud using vCloud Director, Hosting Applications on Public / Hubrid Cloud, Remote hot standby site using SRM, Virtualization management across vendors

* Session 4 – Imagine Virtually Anything – Collaborating to Deliver the Dynamic Data Center
– Joint solution by Cisco, NetApp and VMWare

– Respond faster to changing business requirements, Reduce your overall data center costs by up to 50%

– 4 major components: Apps, Servers, Network and Storage

    – Apps: VMWare VMs, Clusters
    – Servers: Cisco UCS Manager unified architecture
    – Network: Cisco converged fabric
    – Storage: NetApp Unified storage

    – Integrated Management consoles

– Collaborative service mechanism (Singe Point of contact – VMWare or Cisco Or NetApp, Behind the screens strong engineering tie-ups to ensure SLAs thro’ any channel)

– Backup management, Transpaernt failover, Recovery from site outages in minutes, Secure isolation / multi-tenancy

– Consolidated design

* Session 5 – Unified Computing System – Platform Built for Virtualization

– Trend: Power and cooling costs increasing, Server Mgmt and Admin costs increasing, New server spending more or less stabilized

– Legacy Architecture: Server = Application … Inefficient, Complex, High Cost, Fragile
– UCS: Server = Resource … Efficient, Agile, Transformative

– UCS Key Innovations – Systems Excellence, Technology Innovation, Business Value, Solution Differentiation

* Session 6 – IT Infrastructure – Poised for Change

– About EMC
– CIO Technology Priorities movement between 2009 to 2010

    Virtualization – 3 to 1
    Cloud Computing -  14 to 2

– Cloud Journey

    4. Public Cloud
    3. Private Cloud
    2. Virtualized Data Center
    1. Physical Data Center

– VCE Lanscape:

    Cloud App System By VMWare + UCS By Cisco + Virtual Information Infrastructure By EMC

– EMC Enabling Technology: Intelligent Storage, Information Management, Resource Management, Information Security

– Next generation storage stragety – Centralized management, Must connect to any protocol, Must enable consolidation, Must be able to set it and forget it, Highly Efficient

– FAST Cache for application performance 4.5X Better

* Session 7 – Desktop Virtualization

– Desktop Dilemma – Freedom or Control?

IT Requirements Vs End User Requrieemtns

IT Needs — Manage OS Images and apps easily, Support the multitude of endpoint devices, provide secure, continuous access to desktops, apps, Deliver highest level of service at lowest cost

End-user needs — Personalized desktops, Flexible access from a variety of locations and devices, Os and apps support, Access to rich content

– Modernizing the Desktop – A managed service model

    – Persona / Profiles
    – Applications
    – Operating System

– Desktop Delivery

– Optimized IT, Improved End-User Freedom

– Wide range of customer use cases – Windows 7 Migration, Business Process Outsourcing, Remote Office / Branch Office, Mobile Users, Contractors, Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery

– Critical Solution Components: User Experience, Management, Platform (vSphere for Desktops)

– Management: Simple (Single Console Management), Efficient and Secure

– Streamline OS Management, Updated and patched without disrupting end-users, Apply Security policies centrally

– Application Management – Integration with standard image, support for end-user’s unique application requirements

– Enhanced Desktop security – Next session discusses this in detail

    Improve control with data secure in the datacenter
    Enable access to desktops with encrypted access from all endpoints
    Simplify compliance with central control and auditing of desktop and data usage

– Platform: Reliability, Availability and Scalability

– Scalability for desktops: Built for the largest desktop environments, Optimized for desktop workloads, Shrink and grow desktops based on demand and priority, Add resources on demand

– Reduce Desktop downtime – Zero downtime and zero data loss – VMWare Fault Tolerance

– Ensure optimal desktop performance – Protection from planned server downtime (vMotion), Protect from planned storage downtime (Storage vMotion)

– Use Experience – Usability, Flexibility

– PC Over IP Protocol

– View Client with Local Mode (offline access & Synchronization)

– Capacity depends on Kind of users – task workers, knowledge workers, power users, mobile users – a hardware may hold 200 task workers, but only 120 power users – it all depends on usage

* Session 8 – Architectrual Overview of Virtualization Security for the Private Cloud – Amol Palshikar, Manager, R & D, VMWare

– Challenge with Today’s Enterprise Data Center Security

    Users / Sites –> DMZ –> Web Servers –> Apps / DB Tier

    Too many boxes – Firewall, VPN, Load Balancing, IDS / IPS etc.,
    Silos – Unbalanced, Static Rules, FW Chokepoints, VLAN Sprawl
    Not Cloud Ready – Network processors are limited, Need scale-out architecture, Boxes can’t move, No Dynamic provisioning

– Endpoint security needs an overhaul

    Users / Sites –> View DMZ –> View Desktops –> Apps / DB Tier

    Still lot of boxes
    Too many Agents
    CPU Utilization problems

– How do we re-architect security to meet the needs of a cloud centric enterprise

– Data center needs to be secured at different levels

    Perimeter security – Keep the bad guys out
    Internal security – Segmentation of applications, servers
    End Point Security

– Painpoints with traditional approach

    Perimeter Security – Cost & Complexity
    Internal Security – VLAN Complexity and Blind Spots
    End point security – Agent Spreawl, Performance

– vShield – Virtualized sercurity
– vShieldApp – per vSphere Host – Virtualizes network security
– vShieldEndpoint per host virtualizes Endpoint security
– vShield Edge per VDC – Virtualizes perimeter security
– vShieldManager – Centraliced manager console

    – Secure the private cloud end to end: From edge to the endpoint

* Session 9 – Accelerate all your IT Infrastructure – Physical and Virtual – Robert Healey, Marketing Evangelist, APJ, Riverbed

– 2009: The biggest IT Spending cut in 20 years (12%)

– Three great challenges of Networking:

    1. Connectivity (Routers, Switchers, TCP/IP)
    2. Security (Firewalls, VPNs, IDP, UTM etc.,)
    3. Acceleration (Eliminate the constraints of distance and bandwidth, Make apps and data available to anyone, anywhere, over any connection)

– Riverbed addresses #3

– Why you want WAN Optimization?

Compare LAN Throughput Bs Wan Throughput – WAN is < 1% of LAN

– What can you do?

    Consolidate your IT – with no performance loss
    Avoid WAN bandwidth upgrades
    Boost worker productivity globally
    Save Millions of Dollars for your company

– ~9000 Customers

– How this works?

    Users >>>> Network >>>>> Data Center

    1. De-Duplicate the data
    2. Optimize the TCP Transport Protocol
    3. Proxy chatty software applications

    Typically 5 to 50% faster performance

– Deploying Riverbed in your network

    Branch offices
    Mobile Workers
    Primary Data Centers
    Secondary Data Centers

    No changes to existing infrastructure requried

– ROI in only 7 months, 7X return in 3 years – Savings across Hardware, Software, Bandwidth, Staff Costs, Staff Productivity

– What do we do with VMWare?

    1. Branch Office Consolidation – Branch Office In A Box
    2. Accelerating Desktop Virtualization (Integration available With Citrix, VMWare and Microsoft)

* Session 10 – VMWare Advantage over competition

– Virtualization Landscape: Crowded and Complex

– VMWare is the only company in the "leaders" Quadrant for x86 server virtualization in Gartner Magic Quardrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure

– Functionality required in any virtualization solution – Robust and Reliable Hypervisor, Compled, Cloud-ready virtualization platform, Comprehension Virtualization management, Broadest infrastructure support, Customer Proven Solution … and it has to be the lowest TCO solution

– VMWare Differentiation – True Thin Hypervisor, No general-purpose OS, Direct Driver model = I/O Scaling, Drivers Optimized for VMs, Page Sharing = Greater density, Hypervisor ownes the resources

– How secure is your Free Hypervisor?

– VMWare’s vShield Edge, vShield App & Zones, vShield End Point, vShield Manager

– VMWare solutions for IT as a Service

– Rich Ecosystem of VMWare Partners – Operations, Configuration, Provisioning, Continuity

– Differentiate on Broad IT Infrastructure Support

> 65 Supported OSs, Most in the industry
> 400 Enterprise apps with explicit support statements
Huge hardware support, Performance gains

– VMWare is a Proven Leader and Innovator

    Four Generations of Products at a Consistent Price Point

– Main Claims from competition:

    1. Cost
    2. Capability
    3. Other claims

– VM Density is critical in virtual environment: How many VMs I can host in a physical server

– Also compare Heavy workload results

– Memory management elements – Give extra memory priority to important VMs

– Fault Tolerance: Zero downtime


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Organization He works for / belongs to.

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